Sharing Your Stories

Jubilate @ UVA

The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. So when stories come to you, you must take good care of them, as well. Learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs your story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put our stories in each other’s memories. This is how people care for themselves.
-Barry Lopez

Creativity and wellness message for today: SYS

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With Art in Mind . . .

14230036541q9cv“Fine art is that
in which
the hand,
the head,
and the heart
go together.”
-John Ruskin

From Wikipedia:
John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political economy. His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied.

Making Art Fun: Step 3 – Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

wheelIt’s a perfect shape, with a basic use — to keeping things rolling, that’s the wheel.

In art as well as in life, I strive to follow rule #3. As you recall on New Year’s Day I wrote about how to make art fun. A few weeks later I shared the secret of keeping things simple and, then, how to artistically use what you have on hand.

Today I’m talking about the wheel, and not reinventing it. A few months ago I was asked to create a writing workshop that would be included in a “Beyond the Book Club” program series. The theme for February was Literature: Louisa May Alcott. After a brief brainstorming session with the program director, the flash of inspiration sparked. Influential Women Who Shape and Inspire Our Lives and Our Writing was born.

Over the course of several weeks each time I got a snippet of an idea for the workshop, either while I was doing dishes late at night, or sipping my morning coffee, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper. I’ve written and presented hundreds of classes and programs. I know the format and formula that fits with my style of teaching and what benefits my participants. Eventually I knew those separate pieces would grow into the entire workshop. All I would have to do was open my manilla folder, organize them, type up the workshop outline and I’d be good to go. I didn’t reinvent the wheel, I allowed my spontaneous ideas to bubble up over a period of time.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Enjoy the freedom you feel when you use the back burner approach.

Sharpening the Spirit

Rifling though my dog-eared manilla folder of good quotes today, this one by William Faulkner barked to be heard:

People need trouble — a little frustration to sharpen the spirit, toughen it. Artists do; I don’t mean you need to live in a rat hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance.

Creativity and wellness message for today:  Appreciate wisdom from unexpected sources.

I Am the Spark

I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative spark lately. It all started a few weeks ago with social media. Through Facebook I stumbled on The Art Students League. When I was in high school I commuted every Saturday by train and on foot from CT to NYC to attend Figure Drawing classes at the League. I hadn’t actively thought much about it in decades but my recent connection ignited a line of thought.

Over the years I have been an artist, an educator, a graphic designer, a healer, a writer, a speaker and a consultant or you could say I have used my creative thinking and problem solving to express myself and to help pay the mortgage. As an artist my work gives people a glimmer of a different world. As a teacher I fan the flames of my students expressive pursuits as well as teaching them techniques.

When I was a healer clients and students came to metaphorically sit by my fire. My work in personal and spiritual development warmed and comforted them. It helped many go out and be stronger in their lives and encouraged them to pursue new passions.

Now I’m loving being more of a spark. I write about creativity, dreams, meditation and wellness. I also write about literature and writing and reading. Working at a library I infuse the literary, artistic and cultural experiences of my community. When I give presentations my intention is to light the fuse, not give the answer.

There is something profound and freeing about being the spark. I’m happy in my current role. What are you? Are you the fire tender, do you support the artistic work of others? Or are you the fire itself, blazing the trail? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

This brings me back, full circle to The Art Students League. At the League I learned how to be a keen observer and I was taught the importance of mastering a technique. Those two skills have served me throughout my life and the classes there kindled my desire to be a real artist when I grew up.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Consider which aspect of individual expression you support, for yourself or to help others? Is it the spark, the fire tender, are you the wood itself, the air, the match , or the  . . . and let me know.